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5 min

Xtra Best of Toronto 2009

All the people, places and things that wowed you in 2009

We asked and you answered! Listed below are the cream of the crop according to Xtra readers, the people, places and things that wowed you in 2009. They’re the friendly folks you turn to for products, services and inspiration in Toronto and beyond.

This year we turned the Xtra Best results over to a panel of your peers, a selection of some the fabulous people who keep our queer scene fresh and exciting. This fierce foursome weighed in on your picks, peppering the winners list with their yays, nays and uniquely colourful commentary.

Thank you to everyone who submitted to Xtra Best. You are the eyes and ears of the community and we all benefit from your insight. It’s because of you that we know the businesses and services proudly bearing the Xtra Best plaques and window stickers are those that are doing right by the gay and lesbian community. When you support those businesses know that you are supporting the people who support you.

Xtra would like to take this opportunity to thank all our readers and advertisers for their ongoing support. To all those winners of this year’s Xtra Best awards: Congratulations and thank you for your dedication to excellence. The contributions you make to Toronto’s queer communities are critical to our prosperity.

INTRODUCING THE XTRA BEST EXPERT PANEL!
CHELSEY LICHTMAN. Chelsey Lichtawoman is the Toronto-based cofounder of the fat activist and performance duo the Fat Femme Mafia. She really enjoys spending time smashing the patriarchy with whatever she can get her hands on.
RYAN G HINDS. Crossing genres, blending lines and mixing politics and art since 1979, award-winning performance artist Ryan G Hinds is recognizable from shows at Circa, Revival, The Gladstone, Goodhandy’s and many festival stages (including Nuit Blanche and Pride) and his tireless activism around issues that address queer youth and people of colour.
MANDY GOODHANDY. Co-owner of Goodhandy’s – Toronto’s pansexual playground – Mandy Goodhandy is a T-girl entertainer and the world’s most famous shemale spank star.
STEVE BUCZEK. Steve Buczek has been producing leather and bear events for more than seven and half years including Beef Dip, the annual event in Puerto Vallarta and Toronto. Buczek also produces Onyx and various weekly and monthly events in Toronto.
 
 
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EATS & TREATS

BEST RESTAURANT FOR A ROMANTIC DINNER
Fuzion

My idea of a romantic dinner is getting the chance to eat out, whoever she happens to be.
 

BEST RESTAURANT TO BE SEEN IN
Byzantium

BEST RESTAURANT FOR A BIG GAY PARTY
Zelda’s

Just don’t try to outshine Zelda – she’ll cut you!
 

BEST MORNING-AFTER BRUNCH
Zelda’s

BEST PATIO FOR PEOPLE WATCHING
O’Grady’s

Want him, want him, had him, had him, you can have him.
 

BEST COFFEEHOUSE
Starbucks

BEST CATERER
Daniel et Daniel

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FEEL GOOD FUN

BEST BATHHOUSE
Steamworks

I love that they have a DJ in the middle of all the debauchery.
 

BEST TELEPHONE CHATLINE
Cruiseline

BEST CRUISING WEBSITE

Squirt

Love Squirt.org. But I wish someone would list my house on there.
 

BEST SEX SHOP
Priape

BEST PLACE TO PICK UP MEN
Woody’s

BEST CONDOM BRAND
Trojan

BEST LUBE BRAND

Wet

BEST PLACE TO PICK UP WOMEN
Slack’s

No better place to feed my cougar fetish.
 


BEST ESCORT SERVICE

Rentboy.com

And all this time I thought Rentboy.com was a fansite for the 1996 Broadway musical.
 
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BEAUTIFUL BODY

BEST SPA TO BE SPOILED AT
Elmwood Spa

BEST PLACE FOR A NEW HAIRDO

Coupe Bizarre

BEST GYM
GoodLife Fitness

Going by Craigslist’s missed connections, Goodlife is certainly the place to be, but it doesn’t have famous arm choreography like the gym I go to.
 

BEST COSMETIC CLINIC (HAIR REMOVAL, INJECTION, SURGERY, ETC)
Southern Comfort Salon & Spa

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AN APPLE A DAY

BEST WALK-IN CLINIC
Hassle Free Clinic

It’s good to have somewhere discreet to go, after being indiscreet somewhere else.
 

BEST DENTIST
Dr Kevin Russelo

BEST DOCTOR

Dr Fred Crouzat

BEST HEALTH/ SUPPLEMENT STORE
Ottway

BEST DAYCARE

Metro Hall Child Care Centre

BEST VETERINARIAN
Blue Cross Animal Hospital

This place must see so much pussy.
 
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SHOPPER’S PARADISE

BEST OUTLET/CHAIN CLOTHING STORE
H&M

BEST MEN’S CLOTHING STORE

H&M

BEST WOMEN’S CLOTHING STORE
H&M

If I want accessories, I guess I get them here, but as for everything else nothing fits. Sorry, but H&M, get a clue.
 


BEST VINTAGE/ANTIQUES

Kensington Market

BEST SHOPPING NEIGHBOURHOOD
Queen WestEnder Artist

BEST SHOES

Aldo

Do you have the red ruby slippers in a 13?
Just got me some hot pink Keds at Aldo! Watch out! I’m a fat bitch with neon shoes!
 

BEST LEATHER
Northbound Leather

You can never have enough leather or PVC. My mother told me so.
 

BEST CAR BRAND
Toyota

BEST CAR DEALER
Downtown Toyota

We have dealers downtown for cars too?
 
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PLUGGED IN

BEST COMPUTER STORE
Apple

BEST INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER
Rogers

BEST CELL PHONE BRAND

iPhone

There’s an app for everything, including picking up with Grindr.
 

BEST PHONE SERVICE PROVIDER
Rogers

BEST RADIO STATION

Proud FM

BEST RADIO DJ
Deb Pearce

BEST LOCAL MUSICAL ENTERTAINER
Kay Pettigrew

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HOMO HOMES

BEST MOVER
Manhattan Moving Service

They might be good movers but are they good shakers?
 

BEST HOME ACCESSORIES/ FURNITURE
Ikea

It’s aMAZEing!
 


BEST INTERIOR DESIGNER

Brian Gluckstein

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QUEER DOLLARS

BEST BANK
TD Canada Trust

BEST INVESTMENT ADVISOR FIRM
TD Waterhouse

BEST LAWYER

Kirk Cooper

Can he get me a green card? Or on Judge Judy?
 

BEST CREDIT CARD
Visa

No such thing as a good credit card. Ask Charles Lyall.
Visa is so good at what they do I owe them $12,000.
 


BEST ACCOUNTANT

Charles Lyall

BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT
Owen Kirby

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DREAM DESTINATIONS

BEST DESTINATION FOR A DIRTY WEEKEND
Montreal

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi et mon ami?
 


BEST DESTINATION FOR A ROMANTIC RETREAT

Montreal

BEST QUEER-FRIENDLY GETAWAY
Montreal

BEST QUEER FAMILY GETAWAY
Niagara Falls

BEST QUEER TRAVEL-PLANNING RESOURCE (AGENT, ONLINE, ETC)
Conxity

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OUT IN THE CITY

BEST MIXED BAR
Crews/Tango

Open? Closed? Open? Closed? I can still see the ghost of my underage self haunting the second floor.
 


BEST BAR FOR MEN

Woody’s

BEST BAR FOR WOMEN
Slack’s

BEST BAR FOR TRANS FOLKS

Goodhandy’s

BEST CLUB EVENT FOR MEN
Grapefruit

BEST CLUB EVENT FOR WOMEN

Cherry Bomb

BEST CLUB EVENT FOR TRANS FOLKS
Goodhandy’s

BEST COMMUNITY EVENT

Toronto Pride

They brought my favourite band the Indigo Girls one year. That was the best Pride ever! But let’s can the E-list straight celebs for next year, okay?
 

BEST DANCE CLUB
Fly

BEST SPOT FOR A QUIET DRINK
Hair of the Dog

BEST STRAIGHT (MAINSTREAM) CLUB FOR QUEERS
Circa

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CREAM OF THE CROP

BEST BARTENDER
Dave Martynowski at Woody’s

BEST RESTAURANT SERVER
Andrew Dunn at Churchmouse & Firkin

BEST LOCAL ARTIST/PHOTOGRAPHER
Tanja-Tiziana Burdi

BEST TATTOO ARTIST

Jay Decator at Passage Tattoo

BEST PIERCING ARTIST
Blair McLean at New Tribe

BEST LOCAL MUSICIAN/BAND
People You Know

BEST LOCAL DJ

Shane Percy

BEST DRAG PERFORMER
Sofonda Cox

BEST COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION
AIDS Committee of Toronto

BEST ACTIVIST

Chelsey Lichtman

BEST BEHIND-THE-SCENES CHAMPION
Todd Klinck

Thank you Todd for providing me with the space to have a foursome. What a great story that made.
Todd is a champion in front of the scenes also.
 
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ON THE SCENE

BEST THEATRICAL PRODUCTION
The Sound of Music

BEST NIGHTCLUB TO BE SEEN IN

Fly

BEST MOVIE THEATRE
AMC Yonge & Dundas 24

Theatre seven, back row centre.
 

BEST INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE
Glad Day Bookshop

BEST INDEPENDENT ART GALLERY

O’Connor Gallery

BEST STRIP CLUB FOR WOMEN
Brass Rail

BEST STRIP CLUB FOR MEN

Remington’s

This was tough, so many to choose from.
 
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PRIZE WINNERS

Levi McCulloch & Nora Kelly: Winners of the grand prize – two scooters, courtesy of Totally Scooters
John Zinck: Winner of a Blackberry and accessory package, courtesy of Global Wireless
Alison Carson, Fariz Ahmadov & Pam Sloan: Winners of a 12 CD prize pack, courtesy of Universal Music